Elekta sets new standard in stereotactic radiosurgery by introducing Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion

Stockholm 24 May 2006By introducing Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, Elekta expands the Gamma Knife product line with a completely new system that takes stereotactic radiosurgery to the next level and provides a radiosurgical platform for further refinement and expansion of procedures in the brain, cervical spine and head & neck regions.

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At the recent 13th International Leksell Gamma Knife Society Meeting in Seoul, Korea, 300 leading neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and Leksell Gamma Knife users from around the world were given a firsthand introduction to Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, a brand new system for stereotactic radiosurgery with outstanding patient and staff comfort and better dosimetry performance than any other competitive radiosurgical system currently on the market.

Compared to earlier models, Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion allows for a dramatically increased treatable volume. Subsequently, this new system is estimated to increase the number of patients that can benefit from Gamma Knife surgery by up to 40 percent. The fully automated and efficient single push button approach is expected to save 3-6 working weeks of physician time per year at an average Gamma Knife centre.

The patented collimator design provides the neurosurgeon or radiation oncologist with almost unlimited ability for sculpting the dose to produce complex dose distributions with incomparable accuracy. The new system also comes with Leksell GammaPlan PFX, a new client-based treatment planning system with remote capabilities that provides all the tools needed to make full use of the sophistication and new features of Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion.

Designed from the ground up with patient and staff comfort in mind, the body dose to patient is up to 100 times less with Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, compared with competing technologies, important not least for paediatric treatments and treatment of women of childbearing age. Room radiation levels are low enough to allow for a window into the treatment room and the system is accommodated within a normal sized room. Together, this results in significantly reduced building costs for any hospital installing a radiosurgery unit.

"This technological breakthrough incorporates a completely new and optimized design that will improve and expand Gamma Knife surgery while maintaining full clinical compatibility with Gamma Knife procedures and protocols based on 400.000 treated patients", stated Tomas Puusepp, President and CEO of Elekta. "With Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, the gold standard just went platinum. This is a quantum leap in the field of radiosurgery and an important milestone both for Elekta and the neurosurgical community. Even more important, Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion will benefit many thousands of patients who can now be treated with Gamma Knife surgery instead of more risky and invasive procedures", Tomas Puusepp concluded.

Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion has been developed by Elekta in close collaboration with leading neurosurgeons, radiation oncologists and physicists from Europe and the United States. "With the Perfexion system, Gamma Knife surgery is brought to the next level", stated Douglas Kondziolka, M.D., M.Sc., at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Center for Image Guided Radiosurgery. "It has been an exciting process to initially provide input into this extensive development project and to now witness the result, meeting and actually exceeding our expectations. Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion will allow us to care for patients with even more refined and elegant methods, and with more efficiency. As we look ahead, the use of radiosurgery in cancer is just beginning and it is my belief that this new system will speed up this process."

"Our increasing ability to control primary cancers creates increased urgency to detect and treat metastatic lesions", stated David Larson, M.D., Ph.D., at the Department of Radiation Oncology, University of California San Francisco, who participated in the development process. "Naturally, we want to do so non-invasively when possible and with a resulting positive impact on quality of life. Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion, a remarkably sophisticated instrument, can safely and efficiently radiate multiple targets in a single session, and will surely benefit many patients", he concluded.

Elekta is the world's only radiosurgery solutions provider with the systems, software and service needed to build a stereotactic centre of excellence with dedicated solutions for both head and body. The breadth of Elekta's portfolio allows a neurosurgery or radiation oncology centre to develop a reputation for superior patient care and to build strong, profitable collaborations.

Leksell Gamma Knife is the only gold standard for targeting brain disorders, including intracranial metastatic lesions and functional targets and Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion represents the top end of Elekta's range of products for stereotactic radiosurgery. The introduction of this new system has greatly increased the Gamma Knife surgery product line, allowing customers several options across the spectrum of price and performance, including Leksell Gamma Knife 4C and Leksell Gamma Knife 4, the new entry-level and community hospital system to be available from Elekta in 2007.

As the ideal complement to Leksell Gamma Knife, Elekta recently introduced Elekta Axesse, the world's only 6D robotic image guided radiosurgery system, enabling radiosurgery throughout the body and optimized for treatment of the spine. The new Elekta Axesse system uses exclusive stereotactic technology and true three-dimensional X-ray volume imaging to ensure fast, efficient and accurate treatment. In addition to treating the spine, this new system is optimized for extracranial stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS), as well as stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) applications that can benefit from the system's tremendous flexibility and accuracy that also accommodates for image guided as well as intensity modulated radiation therapy (IGRT and IMRT). Along with Leksell Gamma Knife, this new system gives hospitals the power to choose the best treatment for patients and the best business investment.

Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion is currently under installation at pilot sites and Elekta expects to commence commercial deliveries in the spring of 2007. Leksell Gamma Knife Perfexion and Elekta Axesse are subject to regulatory clearance in North America.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), one of the major radiosurgery centres in the United States, will extend its leadership in the fast-growing field of extracranial radiosurgery utilizing the Elekta Axesse system. "We have an excellent, long-standing relationship with Elekta for the development of intracranial radiosurgery", stated Peter Gerszten, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh. "I look forward to a similar collaborative relationship for extracranial neurosurgery with the Elekta Axesse system."

The Elekta Axesse system provides robotic image guided radiosurgery for the spine with free breathing delivery, which reduces treatment time and complexity. Unique beam angle flexibility enables radiation delivery angles that are not possible to achieve with other systems. In addition, highly conformal beam shaping helps ensure high precision and excellent target conformance.

L. Dade Lunsford, MD, is also excited about this new endeavour. Dr. Lunsford is the Lars Leksell Professor and Chairman of Neurological Surgery and Professor of Radiation Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "The year 2006 represents another milestone as UPMC and Elekta work together to deliver the most advanced extracranial stereotactic radiation technologies", Dr. Lunsford stated. "Elekta Axesse will form an integral base for our expanding spinal and extracranial radiosurgery volume."

"As we have done for the past 25 years, UPMC and Elekta will continue to evaluate and investigate the outcomes and methods necessary to obtain the best results for patients. By partnering with Elekta, we allow patients from all over the world to benefit from the latest in technological development for brain, body, and spine surgery. More than 15.000 patients have undergone surgical or radiosurgical procedures with Elekta technologies at this centre since 1980."

UPMC was the first site in the United States to incorporate Leksell Gamma Knife radiosurgery into its brain program in 1987. Today, UPMC has treated more than 8000 patients with Gamma Knife surgery alone. "Elekta Axesse is the most advanced system for image guided stereotactic radiation therapy with the multifunction versatility required for extracranial applications", stated Anthony De Carolis, CEO of Elekta Inc. and President of Elekta operations in North America.

Elekta is an international medical-technology Group, providing meaningful clinical solutions, comprehensive information systems and services for improved cancer care and management of brain disorders. All of Elekta's solutions employ non-invasive or minimally invasive techniques and are therefore clinically effective, gentle on the patient and cost-effective. Clinical solutions include among others Leksell Gamma Knife for non-invasive treatment of brain disorders and Elekta Synergy for image guided radiation therapy (IGRT). Following the acquisition of IMPAC Medical Systems Inc. in April 2005, the Elekta Group is the world's largest supplier of oncology software.

Elekta's systems and solutions are used at over 3000 hospitals around the world to treat cancer and manage clinical operations as well as to diagnose and treat brain disorders, including tumours, vascular malformations and functional disorders. With approximately 1850 employees, Elekta's corporate headquarter is located in Stockholm, Sweden. More information on Elekta is to be found in this VMW issue's article Providence Health System purchases multiple Elekta Synergy systems to improve cancer treatment.


Leslie Versweyveld

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